Warrant: Suspect placed hidden cameras in dressing rooms at MOA

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BLOOMINGTON, Minn. Bloomington Police have identified a suspect they say placed hidden cameras in dressing rooms at popular women's clothing stores at MOA and Maplewood Mall on at least 10 occasions.

A search warrant spells out the allegations against the 41-year-old Elk River man, who allegedly told investigators he did it for "the thrill." He also reportedly confessed to filming his live-in girlfriend and her daughter in the shower without their knowledge.

The search warrants filed detail how employees at Hollister and Forever 21 at the Mall of America discovered four hidden cameras, two at each store, between March and July of 2019. These cameras were mounted inside elaborately built containers designed to look like electrical boxes and attached to the dressing room walls.

On two other occasions police say the suspect mounted the cameras underneath fake shelves and attached them to dressing room walls at waist level so the victims, mostly young women and children, wouldn't see them.

Investigators learned the cameras were set up to be operated by Bluetooth or Wifi, and controlled by a smart phone.

Then on Sept. 28, a manager at MOA's Forever 21 saw a man entering a dressing room that she recognized as a suspect who may have hidden a camera in their fitting room months earlier. On that date she had seen the same man enter a dressing room and stay there for 40 minutes. A hidden camera was discovered shortly afterward.

The manager called 911, and police arrested the suspect as he exited the dressing room about an hour later. He was detained, and a search led to the discovery of a hidden camera two doors down from the room he was in. The warrant says detectives learned he sat in one room and was watching and recording customers undressing in the other.

Bloomington Police booked and questioned the 41-year-old suspect. Investigators say he admitted to placing the cameras in MOA dressing rooms approximately 10 times, and that some of the people he watched undress were children. He also reportedly admitted to viewing porn sites on his computer that may have shown images of children.

The detective applying for the search warrant said he has learned that Maplewood Police are conducting a similar investigation into a hidden camera found in the dressing room of the Hollister store at Maplewood Mall. The warrant sought court approval to search and analyze the suspect's iPhone, which is believed to have operated the hidden cameras.

Charges against the suspect are pending.